July 20, 2021 at 9:32 am #1095295Jill SGuest
Hi All – Long time lurker, first time poster! Let me start by saying a huge thank you to Wendy (& Kate) for continuing to host this site – what with all of the turmoil this last year-and-a-half has been, being able to read the stories posted here, and how other people have dealt with different issues, has made a huge difference in my life, and I so appreciate it. So, truly, thank you! Short version of why I am posting now: I (vaccinated) have a friend that I connect with twice a week (anti-masker, anti-vaxxer) who just got vaccinated, but didn’t tell me, and I feel very conflicted about it. Below is the longer version. I haven’t been following this covid thread, so you may have already addressed this issue somewhere along the line, and I apologize if you’ve already hacked this issue to death – I’m hoping that you can share your thoughts with me now, as I’m sort of at my wit’s end with this particular friend, and am feeling many feels right now.
Longer version: A friend (cis male; I’ll call him Jack), and I (cis female) connect twice a week to talk about business ideas. He has Asperger’s (I can’t tell, but he is always explaining his *weird brain* to me in terms of his Asperger’s). We do not work together, we met as friends about 6 years ago and then joined one of these accountability groups that fizzled out, but decided to continue doing our own, and it’s been fantastic for both of us to be able to run business ideas past each other. Around 2018 my friend was depressed, and was spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos. He started sharing the conspiracy theories that he was hearing about online with me. At first it was all about the aliens, and aren’t conspiracy theorists so funny, and had I heard the one about… Then it was about the things he had *never known before* like about how “the money in the world is controlled by a handful of families.” By 2020 he was worrying about the coming civil war, and was starting to spout off constantly about *Antifa* and how awful they were. When I would try to get him to be more specific about his understanding of some of the things that he was hearing, he would get frustrated with me, and say, well I heard it straight from the mouth of X person on the internet. And that “I don’t believe in the traditional media, as they hide things from you. So I listen to people on the extremes on both sides on YouTube, so that I can know what is really going on.” He would insist that he isn’t on any side. I would say, in response, that there are no *sides* anyway and that we are all Americans. (He’s not American, he’s British but considers America his home.)
So far, all of this is back story, as to why I’m writing in to you all for your thoughts now: This year, Jack started getting hyper-blown up ideas about what is happening in the world. The things that he was saying sounded like coded racism and sexism to me, and I had conversations with him about, gosh, that’s not my experience in the world, could you explain more how that fits into the context of things that you have actually experienced in your life, and not just what people are saying on the internet? I even had conversations with him about how the internet is a bunch of strangers with various motives for being there, and that you just can’t tell from their videos what their real motives are (click bait, viewership for money, power tripping, etc.), but I don’t think that he was listening. When he reached out to contact some guy a couple of months ago, whose YouTube videos he’d been watching, it started feeling to me that this was crossing the line from him just exploring thoughts, and that it was becoming more action oriented, and I called him on it. I said to him that he doesn’t know these people (!) or what their motivations are (!) and to please be careful about contacting strangers on the internet. As all of this was happening, I was comparing notes with a friend whose son who had become sucked into an online cult back in 2018. I learned about how depression can play into online *medication* for some, along with the need for the feeling of belonging that some of these groups provide. Also, how important it is to have a connection to reality, away from the online bs. For the last 2 years I’ve been encouraging Jack to reengage with his family and friends, and he has been doing that (with the Asperger’s, he’s explained to me how easy it is for him to hole up in a room and not talk to anyone for weeks at a time). I also suggested that he get into therapy, and so he hired a business coach (not really therapy, but at least this person helps him with strategies for figuring out how to communicate with people). So, he is trying to do something about dealing with the depression.
Here is the problem: Part of me is viscerally unnerved by all that I am learning about him, and how he views the world. His talking points seem to me to be right out of the FOX news playbook. He has been refusing to get vaccinated for months now (the latest reason was, I’ll get vaccinated when all of the people in India have a chance to get vaccinated), and so, I have respected his right to have boundaries and stopped mentioning the word to him at all. I mean, we talk about business, so his health is his problem. (Truth is, we talk about so much more than business, and rely on each other emotionally, as well, having been friends for so long now.) A friend told me yesterday morning that Jack had just gotten vaccinated, and since it wasn’t him telling me that he had, it made me feel like subconsciously he is sick of hearing me contradict his thought processes and is done talking with me about stuff. I talked with him last night to ask if it was true that he was vaccinated, and he said that yes, he is two weeks out from his second shot. He said that it didn’t even cross his mind to tell me. That it had no bearing on how he felt about me or our relationship. That he felt it was a guy thing to do (to come to a decision, and then to act on it without having to talk about it further). I dunno, it felt like something much deeper than that to me, and I can’t get past how angry I am feeling right now. Any thoughts about this would be appreciated. Thank you.July 20, 2021 at 9:44 am #1095298
I totally totally understand your frustrations, but I think it’s awesome that he DID suck it up and get vaxxed, and hope others do the same. I would just tell him you’re so glad he did, and why, and let it go.July 21, 2021 at 12:03 am #1095347Jill SGuest
@Kate – Thank you for your suggestion to just let it go! I was actually happy that he did get vaxxed, so I am with you on that. I’m realizing that the anger is about his lying to me – after both of his shots he got sick, and when I expressed concern he told me that he had a stomach bug, but nothing about getting vaccinated. It just felt all so cloak and dagger to me. Ah, this pandemic is nuts. Thanks again.July 21, 2021 at 4:37 am #1095354
Well, yeah, it sucks to be lied to. You could say to him, you know, I’m so glad you got vaccinated… insert part about why that’s so great… I do want to tell you I was hurt when I found out from Pete instead of you, and realized you hadn’t been honest with me… do you feel like you can’t tell me things?
But I think you can assume he’s a conspiracy nut and a sexist ass. He didn’t tell you he got vaccinated because you are a woman who was telling him he should do something, and he didn’t want to give you the satisfaction of knowing he did it.
You may want to step back from this friendship because of that. Your other option may be to actively try to unbrainwash him about equality, if you feel you want to put in the effort. That’s up to you.July 21, 2021 at 8:15 am #1095368FyodorGuest
I think that it might be better for you, to the extent you want to, to just be friends with Jack and pull back from this quasi therapist role you’ve been playing with him.I think that part of why this stings is that you kind of see yourself as a life coach to him. If a friend got vaccinated and didn’t want to tell me I really wouldn’t care, but you’ve kind of adopted this coach/therapist role to him where you’re more intimately involved in his thoughts an decisionmaking so it seems like a betrayal to you.July 21, 2021 at 8:17 am #1095369FyodorGuest
While we’re back on this topic, these Delta growth rates are terrifying. Cases have tripled in the last fourteen days. At this rate going to be at 300K cases a day in four weeks.July 21, 2021 at 8:28 am #1095370
So, I do believe the right wing media and politicians are spreading lies *deliberately* about vaccines, and about Delta being bullshit (it’s not, I know a lot of people in India and was talking to them directly a few months ago when it was running wild there).
These people KNOW vaccines work. They are vaccinated themselves. At Fox News I think they have a vaccine passport system. So why are they spreading these lies to discourage people from taking the virus seriously, wearing masks, social distancing, getting vaccinated? Because they want a lot of people to actually die. Why? So Biden’s economy and agenda will fail. This is all political. Then you’ve got impressionable and/or dumb people perpetuating the lies on social media and eating their own shit.July 21, 2021 at 8:52 am #1095371hfantodsParticipant
That is disgusting they want them to die. That crossed my mind too since Biden didn’t hit the vaccination target. Then again if they die won’t they lose voters? Sorry this is morbid.
It is disconcerting to see the rise in Delta in the States. It is helpless to get those who don’t want the vaccine to get vaccinated.
OT but I listened to the Daily about how we are in a new digital Cold War and it’s like woohoo something else to worry about.July 21, 2021 at 8:55 am #1095372
Yeah, I do think they will lose voters, but they probably don’t care. They figure this will crash the economy and bring Biden down.
I don’t know how long this digital Cold War has been going on but I’ve been aware of it since summer 2016. Probably has been happening since FB got big.July 21, 2021 at 5:13 pm #1095402ronGuest
It began under Obama, when Mitch determined to stop everything, the Gang of Six played rope-a-dope to run out the clock and then reject their own version of Obamacare, which was itself modeled after Romneycare, which went back to prior R versions of a healthcare plan as an alternative to Hillarycare. How basically an old R program proposal was cast as the conversion of America to socialism, likely could only happen with a black president and the R base’s reaction to that. I guess also with the great need to blame the Bush budding depression on anyone but Republicans. They did a great job, selling the “Obama isn’t improving the economy fast enough and why spend $ to dig out of this hole [that we certainly didn’t make. It was the Ds forcing banks to give mortgages to blacks who shouldn’t have been able to qualify]. That was when the partisan internet nastiness really took flight. It got worse in 2016, because what could possibly be worse than the first black president being followed by the first female president.July 22, 2021 at 1:48 am #1095410BittergaymarkGuest
I saw that story today about the Dr’s Facebook post going viral. The one about young healthy people of Arkansas sobbing and begging and pleading for the vaccine as they are incubated along their way to death and —- really? All it did was make me fucking laugh.
Seriously. I felt nothing. The reporter telling the story on CNN said this story was heartbreaking. Eh, not to me. I found the whole thing rather heartwarming.
Yeah, my patience with this shit ended long ago. If a bunch of crazy willfully ignorant fools have too die. Eh? So be it.July 22, 2021 at 11:18 am #1095416alafairParticipant
Hey, I just wanted to update everyone. I have long haul covid (there’s posts about it here somewhere in the thread.) I was also not recovering at all until I got vaccinated. It’s taken several months past that point for me to be cleared to work…but it finally happened! I’m not considered completely disabled anymore! I still have a long list of stuff I can’t do (like drive!) but I can work remotely. I have lifelong complications most likely – I now have asthma, neuropathy and dysautonomia – but the brain fog has mostly lifted and I can do more.
I was laid off at the office where I caught it, and lost my insurance. I don’t have to tell anyone here how bad that impacted my finances. BUT- I already found a new job. It gave me great delight to tell the old one no, I was moving on when they called asking when I was returning.